Africa: Pollution Kills As Many People As Cancer Does, UN’s New Environment Chief Warns
The new head of the United Nations environment agency today laid out key issues facing the international community on environmental issues, including pollution as well as the linkages among the environment, wars and conflicts, and migration.
“The World Health Organisation has estimated that seven million people on the planet are dying from pollution – that is more or less the same number of people dying from cancer,” the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Erik Solheim, told reporters in Geneva. In his remarks, the former Norwegian politician and diplomat flagged the role that partnerships could play in UNEP’s mission, noting that “at the very minimum we will be ready to go into partnerships with companies who either behave well or are ready to change,” and citing a recent agreement in Addis Ababa to look into a partnership with Ethiopian Airlines to find ways to assist the company in achieving the maximum fuel efficiency. The second issue is “to look into the crossroads between environment and wars and conflicts and migration,” said Mr. Solheim.
To bring greater focus to these priorities, he said, it is necessary to reach out to more people and change narratives to get closer to people’s hearts. As a first step, he is considering changing the organisation’s name from “UNEP” to “UN Environment